Iceland’s parliament passed a law Monday afternoon to terminate Icelandair’s mechanics’ strike that lasted 16 hours. Several Icelandair flights from Iceland to Europe were delayed 12 hours.
Chairman of Icelandair mechanic’s negotiation committee, Kristjan Kristjansson, expressed great disappointment in the government’s decision to revoke the union’s right to strike by passing a law. A Parliament Minister says the country cannot afford a labor dispute right now because of its weak economy due to its banking sector collapse in October 2008.
Prior to the strike, the mechanic’ union turned down Icelandair’s 11 percent pay raise offer. Government officials allege mechanic‘s demands are unreasonable in light of the country’s economic situation. Unemployment is near 9 percent, which is a record high since WWII; worker’s salaries in general have decreased because of reduction of overtime and previously negotiated scheduled wage increases have been delayed.
Mr. Kristjansson points out that Icelandair‘s pilots negotiated a larger wage increase a couple of weeks ago and that the airline is busy and mechanical services in Iceland are less expensive than in most countries in Europe, because the local currency’s 50 percent devaluation in October 2008.
Icelandair’s schedule is expected to be back in order on Tuesday.